Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My view on Paring 101....


Thanks to Ms. J introduction, a tea friend from The Tea Gallery. David Oller (http://www.oller.net) and Rosanne Tartaro (sunrosearomatics.com) hosted a Kodo gathering this weekend. David was kind enough to bring over 1940's set of Aloewood samples, prepared and produced by a famous Master of Kodo. David then produced a perfect Ko from each of them. Heaven!


I have long been obsessed about pairing aroma to tea. The last time I smelled the waterless pot of the Qing Brick, there was a hint of aloewood in it. The fragrance is so noble and refined that it really opens up one’s mind. At the Kodo gathering, after sampling 5 different kinds of aloewood, David finally pulled out the best one. The molecule of the smoke coated my throat and the windpipe, and slowly developed out to the back of my tongue. Sweet and "Kim" the smoke turns to candy delicious. I can truly relate to a fine vintage pureh with that experience. But, what more is, I long for a cup of tea to pair with the moment....

I usually take at least 3 sessions to be convinced for one tea, then accept it as a "family member". Afterwards, I will pair it with a cigar. This "test" will certainly put it to a statics or if not, fail miserable.... So the question everyone is asking is "Why"?

Pairing fine cheese with choice wine brings out the hidden character of a bottle, which normally details one cannot detach. Some wine connoisseurs pair them with cigar, the smoke molecule that lingers inside the throat can add as a binding to the wine body. Spicy or woody, sweet or astringent, all these will be amplified by the smoke. If the British and the French have been doing this for more than 100 years, why can't we apply the same theory to tea with cigar?


With this question in mind, I enjoyed a beautifully aged 1998 Partagas D4 pairing with 1980's Silver Needle Golden lotus loose puerh. The Lotus flower aroma from the tea was enhanced by the creamy cedar of the smoke, then the spicy, crisp peppier from the body of the cigar was overlayered by the intense moist sweetness of the tea. Sweet and Sour Crispy fried pork loin, who would not appreciate?

8 comments:

~ Phyll said...

If cognac, scotch, rum play well with cigars, I don't see why tea can't be a good friend, too. A thought-evoking post, thanks.

Janine said...

When I read your blog post, it struck me that so many famous tea lovers enjoyed tea outdoors because it is part of nature; indeed its great refinement philosophically has been said to come from its reflection of what is beautiful about nature. So, if famous tea lovers in history went to the mountainside to drink amidst the plants and rocks and trees - why not the beauty of the aloeswood scent to accompany beautiful tea? Add some poetry writing or music and we are all in heaven.

Matt said...

Pairing? What about aloeswood tea? A freind at a local tea shop was brewing a fragrant, vintage piece of aloeswood. One had a cup after it was at its 84th steep! He said that he expects to take it past 150 steeps! It sure beats the 5 week 7542 when it comes to stamina...

Peace

toki said...

That's a GREAT idea, Aloewood brew... I never thought of it! More like Chinese medicine though.... I know it is a cure for pain. Will brew some up is week.

BTW the 88 Qing Bing only lasted 2 weeks but the Wuyi SX has been now on its 6 weeks brewing. Two cups per day x 30 days x 6 weeks = 360 cups and counting : P

Janine said...

Now I'm struck with grief at the thought that I ever threw away any of those brewed Phoenix SX leaves!

I recently had a delicious "Monkey Picked" TKY, made more delicious by using longan wood in its firing. I don't think, however, you'd want to use aloeswood that way! Maybe just a sliver?

toki said...

Janine, if anyone use aloeswood on any tea. I might be the most expensive smoke tea, ever : )

Do you have any link to kodo blog or site? Thanks my friend. -T

Janine said...

Unfortunately I don't know very much about blogs or websites regarding kodo practice specifically. But I will check around with folks who may know! David Oller has a Yahoo Group for incense interested folks ("Alices Restaurant"). But some have mentioned to me the following blog on incense:

Olfactory Rescue Service

Julian Brenner said...

It was really nice to read this blog post.
I love to pair great tea with great tobacco products every once in a while. Especially Pu-erh tea often goes pretty well with a good cigar or a nice pipe.

 
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